Career & Leadership Development

Career Fair Preparation

A career fair is an event where students and alumni have the opportunity to network with and meet employers, recruiters, and graduate schools in a large group setting. UW-Whitewater holds several career fairs throughout the year.

The career fair is a chance to deliver your personal branding message in-person. Personal branding is an opportunity to convey a sense of your skills, values, career focus, and personality to prospective employers. This is a great way to differentiate yourself from competition.


Decide what your goals are for attending a career fair. For example, your goals could be meeting employers, networking, marketing yourself, and/or educating yourself.


Start by reviewing the list of participating employers and the jobs they are offering on Handshake. You can find this information under 'Events' on Handshake.

Review employment pages on employer websites for additional opportunities.

Develop your list of 'top employers', and prioritize the organizations you want to visit.

Take notes about the employers you are prioritizing such as what the company does, what jobs and internships they are offering, and what the jobs require.

Prepare a list of questions to ask employers.

Prepare your personal introduction.


Resumes

Padfolio or folder

Notepaper including list of questions to ask employers

Pen


You are going to be meeting employers for the first time and want to impress them, so wear attire that is appropriate and professional. Suits are always appropriate, but at the very least dress in business casual attire. Avoid jeans, leggings, and shorts. A polo shirt, blouse, or other shirt with a collar with nice pants (such as khakis or dress pants) or a skirt is appropriate. Wear closed-toed professional footwear as well.

Practice a firm handshake, and make eye contact with the employer.


You will receive a map of the room layout when you check in at the door. It is okay to take a lap to get a feel for the room and/or to not talk to your 'top' employers first if you're nervous.

Take notes after you meet with employers - good material for thank you notes, things to reference for future conversations, and answers to the questions you asked.   


Send a 'thank you' to employers you speak to at the fair. Email notes are perfectly acceptable though a handwritten note can make an added impression on an employer. Reference specifics from conversations with each employer using the notes you took after your conversations.

Connect with employers you met on LinkedIn. Make sure to include a personalized note with your connection request.